12 July 2017

- A report by scholars Stéphanie Roy, Gillian McKay, Milad Parpouchi, and Antoine Pellerin

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation supports research on topics that are important to Canada and to Canadians. In this critical moment in US history, the American social and political landscape is informing current research and scholarship globally and has a critical impact on many of the world’s most pressing issues. To gain a better understanding of current US-Canada relations and other key unfolding debates, 19 members of the Foundation’s community visited Washington DC on 12-13 June 2017. Read the impressions of four scholars.

Highlights of the visit

“This trip gave us the opportunity to have discussions with Canadians who are working to develop Canada-United States relations, notably at the Embassy of Canada in Washington; to meet with think tank scholars and learn about their public policy role; to talk with representatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; to meet with representatives of the World Bank; and finally to get a better understanding of the functioning of American political institutions thanks to meetings with parliamentarians of the American Congress.

Thanks to these visits, we had the opportunity to reflect on the shifting balance of power in international politics and on the role of Canada in the world. We also learned more about the challenges associated with negotiating trade deals, the rise of populism internationally, factors that shape public opinion such as social media, issues related to minority rights in the United States, ways of sharing global prosperity, and initiatives helping to mitigate climate impact in several countries.” Stéphanie Roy, 2017 scholar

“The highlight of the visit for me was our meeting with the World Bank’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence experts. We discussed the role of the international donor community and the private sector in mitigating and ending conflicts, and in strengthening systems in fragile states. Traditionally the World Bank would not have been involved in countries in conflict. However, they have had to change their approach as it has become ever more evident that conflict keeps people in poverty and that economic development contributes to peace-building. Our discussion covered some challenging and unexpected questions, especially around how mobile technology, widely considered a positive force, can also put vulnerable people at risk. For example, seeing that their friends and family have been able to make a migration journey encourages others to try, sometimes via highly dangerous routes.” Gillian McKay, 2016 scholar

“Most salient to my own work was the presentation of research on the increasing trend of income inequality in communities across the U.S., and the relationship between income inequality, social mobility, health, and happiness.” Milad Parpouchi, 2017 scholar

What they learned from the visit

“As I am examining new socially responsible ways for the government to exercise its contractual power, I really enjoyed the World Bank visit. It has worked for many years to develop an anti-corruption and integrity promotion program.”Antoine Pellerin, 2016 scholar

“As a PhD student working on ways to frame environmental government action, this visit provided me with a more accurate overall picture of the context in which the United States and Canada are developing and implementing their public policies. This new perspective will certainly help me to embed my research results into reality and to make more effective recommendations.” Stéphanie Roy, 2017 scholar

“As both a former humanitarian aid worker and as a doctoral student who studies humanitarian crises, this visit to Washington, DC helped me to understand the international development space in a whole new way.  The United States has always been a major player in the global health world, both in terms of funding, and from a strategic and policy advocacy perspective. 

This trip, where we met with a wide range of actors, including the World Bank and the Embassy of Canada, validated two things I had already sensed. First, that the US’s global leadership role may be changing; and second, that this may create room for Canada to further assert ourselves in general, but in the field of women’s health (my personal area of study) in particular. “ Gillian McKay, 2016 scholar

Stéphanie Roy

Stéphanie Roy (administrative law, Université Laval) wants to redefine the obligations of the state towards the environment to reflect ethical guidelines and protect the environment for generations to come.

2017 Scholars

Gillian McKay

Gillian McKay (santé publique, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) s’intéresse à la façon de rendre des services de santé maternelle disponibles et sécuritaires en cas d’épidémie sanitaire dans des pays sortant de conflits, comme en Sierra Leone.

2016 Scholars

Milad Parpouchi

Milad Parpouchi (population and public health, Simon Fraser University) is investigating the factors that contribute to homelessness and the effectiveness of supported housing models in promoting social inclusion, recovery, and self-determination.

2017 Scholars

Antoine Pellerin

Antoine Pellerin (droit, Université Laval) s’intéresse au pouvoir contractuel de l’État et cherche les conditions nécessaires pour que celui-ci soit exercé dans l’intérêt public.

2016 Scholars